Improving Literacy Skills: Yes!
I am a sucker for books that promise to increase my reading or writing speed. As an academic and a bibliophile, few things increase my pleasure than reading and writing at increased speeds. However, I'm smart enough that I don't want authors wasting my time or trying to instill some silly or impractical framework on my style. Many books I have bought and read about improving performance in these areas, but few have hit the spot. In fact, they usually do little for me.
On Finding Rachel's Book
I rarely buy books on reading or writing faster unless I find them at Goodwill for a fraction of the price. I will buy a book, though, if it comes recommended from a reliable source. While considering Josh Earl's e-book Sub[ime Productivity, I found a post where Josh mentioned Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. I figured if Josh is willing to suggest the book and openly acknowledges that he modifies Rachel's approach for fiction to his own work with non-fiction, it's worth a listen. This is doubly true because Josh appears to be quite transparent about his writing and publishing process as well as his earnings. These moves increase my trust and respect.
To Rachel's book: increasing writing speed. One phrase summary: proper preparation and focus. Yep, that's it. At its core, that is Rachel's secret. And I already knew that secret (which is actually not a secret). However, Rachel's honest voice, up front delivery, easy reading and writing all work to frame and deliver a message which is truly invaluable. And it's just 99 cents.
My takeaways for adapting Rachel's suggestions for preparing for academic writing:
- increase preparation by gathering sources more thoroughly;
- increase framing by placing sources & assertions about sources explicitly;
- reduce friction by having outcomes/statements/findings clearly developed before writing;
- invest seriously in the prep.
My takeaways for adapting her suggestions re: writing process for academics:
- make the boring stuff exciting or cut it;
- find new and better ways of summarizing material;
- if I'm bored the reader will be dead bored;
- cut. all. boring. stuff.